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  • Price $333 at
  • Fabric Weight 210 gsm
  • Made in Switzerland


Willie Norris, a Brooklyn-based fashion designer and queer activist, has served as Outlier’s design director since 2020. While you may not be familiar with her name, you’ve likely appreciated her craftsmanship. She’s renowned for her “Willie Specials,” including discreet features like hidden pockets, magnets, and refined seam finishes.

The Hempmarine Newsbag is one of her creation. I also noticed a Supermarine version as part of the latest eight-piece capsule for 2024.

Despite my admiration for Outlier’s aesthetics, I tend to avoid drawing attention to myself. That’s why the Hempmarine Newsbag caught my eye. It’s surprising to find such understated simplicity from a designer known for outlandish designs. It almost resembles a bag plucked from a beachside shack (albeit at 50x the price).

To my delight, I found myself reaching for this bag more than anticipated. What initially appeared as a standard tote ended up becoming my go-to carry throughout my travels in Bali and Jakarta. Without giving too much away, let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised by the practicality hidden within what seemed like an overly designed tote.


The Newsbag resembles a simple tote bag, which is precisely why it appeals to me. It features an external kangaroo pocket reminiscent of the handwarmer pockets found on hoodies, inviting you to slip your hands inside.

The standout detail of the bag is the patch near the pocket. It’s a white patch adorned with “WILLENORRIS for OUTLIER” text and the Outlier Swan logo on the reverse side.

While there are subtle design elements that add to its appeal, they’re not immediately noticeable and don’t drastically elevate the bag’s premium look.

Personally, I regard this as a feature, not a bug as it deters pickpockets. The materials appear durable; you can discern their high quality upon close inspection.


If you’re a fan of Outlier like I am, you’ll understand that their dedication to materials is what sets them apart. They have a knack for weaving stories around the fabrics they use.

Imagine a fabric that feels like a crisp handshake from a well-dressed hemp enthusiast. That’s what you get with Hempmarine, a blend of densely woven hemp and extra-long staple organic cotton. Think of it as the lovechild of Ventile and eco-friendly hemp – or as Outlier calls it, Hempmarine.

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Ventile, born in the heat of World War II, is cotton’s alter ego, woven so tightly that it seals itself when wet. Now, picture adding hemp to the mix. The warp remains certified organic cotton, but the weft brings in the rugged charm of hemp fibers.

Sure, the water resistance takes a slight dip (from 800mm to 600mm water column), but in return, you get enhanced breathability and a textured feel that screams adventure. And don’t worry, Outlier has coated it with an F0 DWR treatment for extra water resistance.

Clocking in at a featherweight 210gsm, this fabric, woven in Switzerland, performs like a champ wherever you take it. It’s like having a Swiss army knife in textile form – versatile, reliable, and always ready for action.


I’ve schlepped this bag everywhere – from travel hubs to sandy shores, sweaty gyms, and stuffy co-working spaces. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of bags, but with a knack for beach vibes. Aesthetically, it works best for the beach. It has a strange versatility of both nonchalance and premium, although leaning more to the former. It effortlessly straddles the line between casual and classy and is perfect for the beach, which my time in Bali has proven. It is especially fitting for beach bars, where you can sip cocktails in style without a care in the world.

When I slow travel, I like to keep my routine while adapting to the location. My daily routine in Jakarta would be GoBike from my hostel to the WeWork, leave my stuff at WeWork and walk over to Anytime Fitness.

The bag is a perfect fit for my Bell Rogue Helmet, which I always take when I travel to countries where bike ride-hailing is available. I just can’t stand how unsanitary the shared helmets are.

Despite accommodating the helmet, the bag still has room for my everyday carry items and a water bottle. However, wearing it across my chest with the helmet inside isn't as comfortable due to the length of the strap, which causes the helmet to press against my chest. So, I usually opt to sling it over one shoulder when I have my helmet along.

When I'm at WeWork, I leave my GORUCK GR2 and pack my gym essentials into the Hempmarine Newsbag. It easily holds a change of clothes, towel, bottle of Dr. Bronner, dopp kit, everyday carry accessories, and my Scrubba Stealth Pack—an impressive amount for its size.

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After my workout, I shower and launder my gym clothes. I then place the washed clothes into the Scrubba and attach it to the strap of the Hempmarine Newsbag. Surprisingly, the strap holds it securely in place, although it may cause the bag to tilt forward depending on the weight distribution.

Initially, I fretted over the open top, fearing it might invite pickpockets. However, the strap proved long enough to sling over my neck, positioning the opening towards my front. Yet, it was also short enough that the bag couldn't be opened too wide in that position, offering me a sense of security, albeit perhaps unintentionally.

As for the front kangaroo pocket, I find it rather ornamental. Its outward angle makes it prone to items slipping out or even granting access to novice pickpockets. I only resort to using it when I need my hands momentarily free, quickly stashing whatever I'm holding there for a few seconds.

There is a removable carabiner in the pocket, so it might work for something like an access card that you have on a retractable card holder. I don’t personally use this.

The pockets on the inside are way more functional. One is a large catch all and I usually just have my EDC, like wallet, passport, and earbuds in there. There is a sectioned pocket on the other side, but since it is narrow and purpose-sized, I seldom use it since I can’t just slip the item in as easily without looking.

There are some loops on the sides of the totes that I use to hang accessories like the Nitecore EMP05 Mosquito Repellent, a must-have in Jakarta.


This unassuming bag ended up being one of my favorites. It’s a breath of fresh air amid all the technical backpacks trying to outdo each other. It’s simple, yet has just the right amount of function that fuels its versatility. I would choose it over other Outlier backpacks in a heartbeat.

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